While opening any kind of business involves a great deal of forethought and careful consideration, this is especially true for professionals like yourself who are considering opening up a dance studio (or, really, a studio of any kind, to be honest). You’ll encounter a distinct set of challenges when your business so clearly depends on fostering a student body and maintaining a complex class schedule. So it’s imperative that you address many of these concerns before you get too deep into the process.

Naturally, we’re big proponents of how dance studio software like The Studio Director can help alleviate many of your worries, but even before you apply a sophisticated system like ours to your business, you’ll need to develop a bit of strategy for how you hope to make smart decisions about your studio from the very beginning. Here are some of the most significant questions you should think over as you develop your vision.

1. How Will You Manage Those Daily Stressors?

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Running a studio may have long been a dream of yours, but taking this lofty goal and translating it into reality isn’t without a price. In many cases, one of the key ways in which you’ll feel the toll of ramping up and managing your studio is in the stress it will inevitably bring into your life. This is not to dissuade you from embarking on the adventure that is running your own studio, but it is critical to consider just how difficult opening a studio can truly be.

To minimize these debilitating effects, you’ll need to approach your business plan thoughtfully and ensure that every bit of your business is effectively organized, minimizing the chance of error and streamlining your systems at the same time. In fact, this is one key way in which dance studio software can help your business run more smoothly since systems integration and data consolidation is at the forefront of its benefits.

This can especially help when it comes to managing enrollment and class schedules, as these elements govern your business and require near-constant vigilance to prevent a catastrophe on the back end of your studio. When you have the right system in place to crunch these numbers, you’re able to easily track what works and what doesn’t, allowing you to make positive changes before too much damage is done. You can even create customized reports from these data to ensure you’re drawing accurate conclusions.

Of course, bringing on trustworthy team members can go a long way in managing the stress of running your own studio. Delegation is vital to any managerial role, and you need to learn how to get everything done without burning yourself out. Once you find the system that works for you, you should be able to focus on your energies on stay inspired, reveling in your passion and fostering growth for your studio. Speaking of which...

2. What Is Your Growth Strategy?

Without a loyal student body, your studio just isn’t sustainable. So, as you contemplate opening your new business, be sure that you develop a plan for how you are hoping to not only attract an initial following but to help it continue to grow over time. Unsurprisingly, this starts from the very first impression that a prospective student will have of your studio. Whether they find your physical location or come across your website, take pride in your business and make it a pleasant experience in which you fan the flame of consumer interest. Design of both your studio space and your website goes a long way toward influencing people to give you a shot. One major piece of advice? Online registration. It’s an absolute must nowadays.

Moreover, you don’t just want students that passively participate in your classes. You want passionate, enthusiastic students who will develop a love and loyalty for your studio and desire to share it with others. In short, you need to build a community. This can be as simple as developing a social media presence or scheduling regular communication via your dance studio software. The important part is knowing that you have widespread support for your mission. If you’re lucky, your most impassioned students will become advocates for your brand, perpetuating word of mouth and playing into your studio’s bright future.

Be a bit creative with it. Ensure that your team and your students are establishing lasting bonds. And remember that you set the tone for it all. Everyone involved in your studio will likely look to you for guidance, and if your passion comes off in every interaction, you’ll be able to more easily convince others that your heart is truly invested in your studio. Adding a competitive element to your discipline — whether it’s dance, martial arts or something else — can help keep students engaged and develop a sense of camaraderie in your community.

3. What Tools Will You Use to Support Your Business?

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Yes, dance studio software can easily prove to be an integral part of your studio’s success. But, aside from the comprehensive assistance that such a system can contribute to your business, you should also consider other tools that might be able to make a positive impact on your studio. After all, you’ll want to be fully equipped and have all your infrastructure in place before you open your doors, since you’ll (hopefully) be far too busy — especially in these early days — to take the time to consider how you can make things easier.

To fully maximize the success of your studio, you’ll want to be in top shape as soon as possible. That’s why you need to do your research and explore your options. Many back-end tools carry an only minimal cost and could significantly benefit your business. Consider how a simple project management tool (Asana and Trello are among the most popular options right now) could increase task organization and productivity. How about the myriad of ways in which a graphic design program such as Canva or a stock photo site like Pixabay can facilitate the creation of marketing materials?

Then, of course, there are all the social media sites to think of. You’ll want to have created and fostered a bit of practice on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram before you hold your grand opening, since you can build some advance buzz and get your prospective students hyped about your studio. By extension, scheduling platforms such as Buffer and Hootsuite are key to making the most of your social media posts.

We could go on about all the easy-to-use tools that you have at your fingertips — and should be taking advantage of — with regards to opening your own studio. Dance studio software will go a long way toward addressing these needs, however. The system does include a class schedule interface, a report creator, an invoicing tool and many other incredible features. Nevertheless, you should still take a glance around at the other tools you’ll want and that might complement your new system, resulting in the best overall results for your studio.

4. How Can I Simultaneously Control Costs and Boost Profits?

The real trick in establishing your studio as a success is cracking the code of how to curtail extra costs without sacrificing potential profits. They say you need to spend money to make money, but this overly simplistic view fails to capture the inherent nuances of finding the right balance between investing in your studio’s future and achieving measured growth. It takes a careful eye to find a strategy that will have the desired effect on your business, but there are a few important points to keep in mind.

Dance studio software empowers you with the knowledge you need to manage your costs and profits, but this is really an extension of the principles you need to embrace before you open your studio. That is, don’t be afraid to stop a specific course of action if it simply isn’t working. Unnecessary marketing costs and staff expansions are some of the first expenses that lead businesses down the road to failure, and you’ll have to be discerning enough to know when this is the case and bold enough to act.

At first, you may find it difficult to know what works and what doesn’t, as your new studio will have no track record you can refer back to. But that’s all part of the journey. Treading carefully and strategically as you establish your studio can prevent you from overspending on a specific area or falling into the trap of not investing enough in marketing efforts, infrastructure, inventory and the like. Attentiveness to your bottom line is, well, the bottom line when it comes to figuring out what works specifically for your studio. Know what metrics matter the most to you and prepare a number of scenarios so that you can plan your next move.

5. What Should I Expect after We Open?

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Jumping off of that last point regarding metrics, you should never fly blindly into the studio (or any) business. Having dance studio software on your side can make a tremendous difference, but you also have to educate yourself about the realities of running a studio. With any luck, the above points have already begun to shed light on what it is like opening and managing a studio. Ensure that you have an accurate picture of what to expect in your mind before you get started, and you’re that much closer to sidestepping the obstacles that routinely trip up even the most seasoned professionals. By doing your research and evaluating all manner of possibilities, you can minimize the chance that you’ll face an unfortunate surprise once your business kicks off.

To be honest, no matter what you do to prepare for opening day, you’ll likely still find yourself facing unforeseen circumstances. But if you take the time to consider the financial hardships you could be forced to deal with, the stiff competition that may steal away your prospective students and the classes that might wind up largely vacant, then you can develop ways to address these issues before they happen. Naturally, don’t go into this expecting things to go awry from day one, but always ensure that you are ready for a worst-case scenario if it does arrive.

Once you’re out there doing it, you’ll discover too that opening a studio can be an incredibly rewarding experience. You’re able to share your passion with others and help them to grow and develop their skills on a regular basis. You can become part of a real community, both as a studio owner and in creating your own group of devoted students within your studio’s walls. Sure, you’ll have to progress master the art of running your own studio and all the processes that that entails. But you’ll also be making a positive impact and spreading your message of discipline, positivity and fun with the people in your area. All in all, expect opening a studio to be a lot of work, but expect it to be worth it.  

Keep Moving Forward

Although the above questions include some of the most pressing concerns you’ll have as you prepare to launch your studio, it is far from all-inclusive. Depending on your studio’s focus, your location, your business experience and many other factors, you may still find yourself overwhelmed with questions and doubts about your upcoming studio. Rest assured that this is completely normal. You shouldn’t let worries deter you from your goal but instead channel them into your focus and determination to make your studio something truly special.

No success ever came without a modicum of risk, though you can temper even that when you take an honest, thorough look at the possibilities. By anticipating your needs and evaluating your chances of success or failure, you can take the necessary precautions and therefore optimize your studio before you ever open your doors. Your team and your students alike will no doubt be able to sense the care and passion that you put into every part of your studio, creating a positive, encouraging atmosphere that few will be able to resist.

Dance Studio Ownership 101

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